Paul Zindel, Author . Hyperion $15.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-7868-2554-7

Cut from the same cloth as Zindel's previous horror stories (Reef of Death; Rats), this novel has yet another scientific-minded teen matching wits with a mutated beast. Here, a gigantic bat terrorizes the research team of Jake's father, Dr. Lefkovitz. The author once again presents the monster's reign of terror in graphic details ("The creature that held him was convulsing, the whole of its body shaking, vomiting fluids directly into his throat and mouth"). This time, however, he devotes less attention to developing characterizations and theme. The motive of 15-year-old Jake, a reformed prankster joining his father's team in the Amazon, is to gain his father's respect ("On this trip, Jake was determined to prove himself to his dad, who thought Jake couldn't take anything seriously"). Meanwhile, Dr. Lefkovitz, stereotyped as a scientist totally absorbed in his work, has little faith that his son can cut the mustard. When the gigantic bat terrorizes their campsite, killing and maiming several men, Dr. Lefkovitz is determined to capture the monster alive. After his attempts fail, Jake predictably gets his chance to save the day. The narrative sacrifices substance in favor of gore; but while the book offers few surprises, there is plenty of excitement to satiate readers who crave a thrill on every page. Ages 10-14. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 07/30/2001
Release date: 08/01/2001
Mass Market Paperbound - 129 pages - 978-0-7868-1226-4
Paperback - 978-1-935169-41-3
Hardcover - 144 pages - 978-0-7868-0340-8
Open Ebook - 144 pages - 978-1-935169-68-0
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